Norway: Abbas 'knows the outcome' of UN vote

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11:06 CEST+02:00
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas "knows what's in store" when he attempts this week to force a vote at the United Nations on the establishment of a state largely within Israel, Norway's most-senior diplomat has warned.

Abbas — whose people live as refugees or constrained by checkpoints and embargo — has said he is prepared to go to the UN Security Council while being cognizant of what it entails.

“He knows what the answer will bring,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre told reporters in New York.

“It’s no secret that I’m hesitant about the strategy, but I respect (President Abbas’s) choice,” NRK reported Støre as saying.

Abbas’s press secretary said his boss would try the Security Council first. Støre, who said he and Abbas would operate closely together this week, appeared concerned of new Palestinian uproar in Gaza and the Israeli-occupied patchwork of Palestinian lands should Abbas’s UN gambit fail. He appeared to indicate that Norwegian and Palestinian envoys were somehow making headway toward solving the issue of self-rule, Jewish settlements on occupied land and refugee returns.

Abbas goes to the Security Council on Friday with a plan for the Palestinian lands which some have said might bring a resolution declaring “a protected homeland” if not the “formation of a new state” so anxiously sought. A US veto is expected to kill his proposal, although American President Barack Obama had said he hoped to see an independent Palestinian territory during his tenure.

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In May 2011, Obama infuriated Israel by appearing to back the key Palestinian demand of statehood within borders acknowledged internationally before the Six Day War of 1967. Abbas seems bent on keeping Obama to his word.

Israel, on the other hand, had assurances from former president George W. Bush that retreating to the pre-’67 border was “unrealistic”. Abbas’ coalition with the militant Hamas was ostensibly Bush’s reason.

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